Self Portrait in Three Colours

Posts Tagged ‘day-to-day

Hey!

So it’s been a couple of days since I’ve written (okay, a week). First it was cos we were a little bit busy (SHOCK HORROR) and then it was cos we were so incredible not busy that there was nothing to write about. We’ve had a couple of 24 marathon nights since I last wrote – my whole family, including Mum & Chelsea’s boyfriend Harry, came and stayed on Thursday night (Mum sat in our room reading and playing Rummykub on her iPhone, she had a great time!) – and then we went down to their place on Saturday night. We’re two episodes away from finishing the first season – quite an achievement for only four different sessions. 24 is a TV series that I could watch over and over again and still pick up new things and be mildly shocked when something happens that I’d forgotten. What an amazing example of great television programming πŸ™‚

We also got our air conditioning put in last Friday! We actually had to have it on the heater the day we got it installed because it was so cold (um, hello summer?!?) but since then we’ve had a few warm days where it’s come in handy. Like today – it’s been 31 degrees (really the top end of my comfortable-ness with heat) and it’s kept the lounge room a balmy 25 degrees – beautiful. Also we went with Denese to Spotlight the other day to pick up all the materials we needed for curtains. We even got one up in our bedroom the other day, so no more waking up being positively blinded by the sun. The others are yet to be done, cos we had to get more screws to put in the window frame. Finally, yesterday we went to pick up our new (second hand) entertainment unit and coffee table that we bought off Gumtree. The coffee table we’re not using because it’s too big, but it was part of the deal. The entertainment unit, however, is gorgeous.

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It’s huge – it takes up a great deal of the space in our lounge room, but it’s so beautiful that we deal with it. Plus it’s got oodles of storage space, so it makes up for it being big.

Today we took Denese and Peter to the airport for their trip to Tassie, and we haven’t done much else all day! I’ve been reading lots, I just finished My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult – one of the most intensely emotional books I’ve ever read – and now I’m reading a book called Daniel’s Not Talking by Marti Leimbach, about a boy with autism and his family’s struggle. Interesting so far.

We’ve been trying a new healthy eating thing today (well mine started yesterday), which we are keeping up for exactly a week (and hopefully further on). I’ve been finding it really hard getting back on track with eating healthy and exercising, and it’s mainly because I let myself have things that I shouldn’t. I know that when I’ve been eating healthily for a period of time I don’t want any of that stuff, but because I’m in the habit, I can’t break it, even when I promise myself I’ll only have a little bit of [insert desirable food here]. So for one week I am not allowing myself anything unhealthy. Water and tea (and the occasional coffee, I decided today) is all I can drink, and the main portion of my diet will consist of fruit, vegies and grains. There’s not much we can do about dinner because we’ve already bought BBQ meat and pasta sauces in bulk (it’s cheap!), but I’ve just been having smaller amounts. Day 2 and I’m going strong πŸ™‚

We went for a walk this evening, after dinner and watching a bit more of Lord of the Rings. We were just going to walk the driveway like we usually do, but as we were walking we noticed a patch of bush off the track where the grass and the shrub wasn’t as super thick as everywhere else. We decided to check it out – it’s been so long since we’ve been bush-bashing. It was just nice to see somewhere different. Our property is so big and we hardly get to see any of it anymore because everything has grown so close together and is still relatively small after the fires. We’ve noticed it starting to thin out recently, though, which is very exciting. After a short stint of exploring in the bush, we continued up the driveway and stopped at the old gate so Aaron could rake out some of the loose gravel. I took the opportunity to check out the old stairs that were there for years before the fires and that we worked hard to bring back to life afterwards. When I say stairs, by the way, I mean just indentations into the hill, no man-made materials, just created with a shovel. Anyway, the last time I saw them, the section halfway up the hill was completely bare and would get slippery and muddy every time it rained. Now it’s completely overgrown and I had to be careful in sections so I wouldn’t trip down onto the next step. At the bottom, the blackwoods and wattles have completely taken over. It reminded me of the secret gardens for fairies that I used to read about, it was so dark and mysterious in there. The small birds love it.

After climbing back up the hill I went for a wander down the trench that filters water off the driveway when it rains. It’s one of the only other spots that you can walk without getting attacked by trees, and it extends down maybe 100 metres or so. I stood at the end and looked up at the big trees silhouetted in the sky, their branches bare of any leaves after the fire. With the sunset as a backdrop, it looked beautiful. And it reminded me how important it is to get off the beaten track whenever you can, in all areas of life. Sometimes you’ll see things you never thought you’d see, things that make you think about life differently. It was an eye-opening walk, however simple and “uneventful” it was, and it was extremely beneficial for my mental health.

Aaron has been organising our budget so we have a little bit more in spending money every week for the last stretch of the holidays. We’re thinking we might go down to Williamstown tomorrow or the next day and eat fish and chips on the bay. We haven’t done anything like that in a while so I’m really looking forward to it πŸ™‚

Now, in the spirit of eating healthy, I’m going to go and make myself a smoothie for dessert!

My arms ache. My legs can hardly support themselves. My abs are burning. My whole body is cursing me.

But I feel amazing!

This morning, despite the sky threatening to pour on me (it didn’t, thankfully!!), I put on my runners, grabbed my iPhone and my hand weights and pushed myself up the driveway. It was the first time walking with my new hand weights from Aaron for Christmas, and it was sooo much hard than what I was expecting. My thoughts were, okay, kill two birds with one stone – I’m getting my cardio in as well as toning my arms – but it worked out my entire body. I had to walk much slower than I usually would because my heart rate was way up, and I actually felt like I had weights on my legs too, because they were burning way more than usual. I only went once up and back – I figure I need to regain some stamina to start going twice, and also my stomach cramps were starting to kick in – but when I got back I was feeling so good that I decided to get in some ab workouts! Once again, Cassey Ho of Blogilates comes to the rescue with an amazing Intense Ab Workout. She’s not wrong when she calls it intense! Once again, I couldn’t quite manage every single move, but the fact that I made it to the end of the 10 minutes without dying is enough for me πŸ™‚ By the end, despite the fact that my every molecule was screaming, I felt so good for having actually done it.

I have to remember this for the days that I feel unmotivated and lethargic. Like yesterday – I had the whole day at home, with nothing on the agenda, and I didn’t write or exercise, and I literally had to force myself to do the dishes in the kitchen, only because we didn’t have a single plate or bowl left in the cupboard. And I didn’t feel any better for being lazy, either.

Not only does my body feel great after having done this exercise, I’m much more motivated to get stuff done (like write this blog post!!). We’re going to my parent’s place tonight for dinner and another 24 marathon, and then we’re going out for dinner with Clare tomorrow, so we won’t actually be home until tomorrow night. So I’m going to make sure we’ve got everything we need for staying overnight (it feels so weird to actually have to pack stuff to stay at my family’s home!!), we need to get washing and water containers organised to take there, I might do some dishes so the kitchen is clean for when we get home, and I might even just tidy up a little bit around the place. Funny that this motivation might have come in handy yesterday when I had the whole day here! πŸ˜‰

But it was soooo worth it.

Earlier today I fooled myself into thinking that I would actually survive a 30 minute Pilates workout not geared for beginners (like the POP Pilates for Beginners Total Body Workout – which I love by the way). I clicked past the 7, 10, 15 minute workouts – yep, I was definitely ready for 30 minutes, bring it on! I thought.

I completed part 1 and part 2 of the POP Pilates Summer Slimdown. But only just. And with numerous modifications. And some cursing. And a lot of almost-giving-up. BUT I DID IT, I ACTUALLY GOT TO THE END. The relief, exhilaration and sheer exhaustion that followed was enough emotion to deal with, but as soon as I attempted to pull myself up off the floor, my muscles were screaming at me as well. Even now, more than 8 hours later, I can hardly lift my arms, my legs are a wobbly mess and don’t even get me started on how my abs feel.

Despite all the pain, I feel amazing mentally, and the soreness is just a reminder of how hard I worked. To me, it’s enough that I actually made it through having done most of the moves – now I can’t wait for the day when I can make it through the whole thing, no modifications, no “little breaks”.. and maybe with the same enthusiasm as the trainer Cassey (that might take a little longer though..!!!)

I am really on board with this pilates stuff. My aim is to eventually do some form of pilates every morning before breakfast with some cardio in the afternoon – at the moment my goal is every two days, with a walk on the off day. As lazy as I’m being so far this summer (cricket, internet and playstation are pretty much my only endeavours at the moment.. yeah, lazy) I think I can make this happen before I go back to work/uni. I’m doing alright at Day 4, anyway πŸ˜‰

So apart from ripping my muscles apart with the pilates today, I haven’t done a lot – I watched Michael Clarke get his 300 and Hussey get his 150 in the cricket (we’re a day behind, watching it on foxtel with no ads, woohoo!), I did an hour of homework and I purposely avoided washing the huge stack of dishes in the kitchen. We had amazing hamburgers for dinner and we’ve put on Lord of the Rings, which we’re watching in stages cos neither of us have the attention span to last the whole 50 3 hours of the movie. Aaron’s been racing on Gran Turismo but actually I think it’s about time we got back to the movie otherwise we’ll be up all night watching it πŸ™‚ Until tomorrow!

I am feeling more and more compelled to write at the moment so I won’t hold back, I’m on a good roll!

Paul & Andrew came up to our place for a BBQ today. It was nice having them out as they’re great guys with a good sense of humour, so lots of fun to muck around with. We met them at the top of the hill and hauled our stuff, including an eski, three bags of ice and all the food and drink, all the way down the driveway (stupid thing isn’t finished yet so we can’t drive down). Got very boggy as it was raining this morning so we ended up about three inches taller by the end of the walk because the soil had stuck nice and tightly to our shoes. We had a little look around, got the fire going, and had a really nice BBQ lunch.

As we were finishing our second and third sausages, Aaron said, “Shall we just go for a wander up the back hill?” We were all up for that so we ventured over to our little forest of silver wattles to find our way down to the old bridge over the creek. Aaron and I were absolutely blown away when we got there and saw how much they have grown in such a short space of time. These little guys shot up almost right before our eyes last year, and it doesn’t seem like long ago that we were marvelling at the fact that some of them were as tall as Aaron. Well, now they’re about twice or three times that size and really do resemble a forest, except they’re all about 10cm apart and you have to push and duck your way through the branches to get through. I’ll post a photo once I get them up, it’s just incredible.

Somehow we made it down to the creek (after navigating through the silver wattles and climbing over and around fallen branches and shrub), tentatively crossed the creek on the narrow metal bar that is really all that’s left of bridge, and resumed much more bush bashing before getting up onto some clearer land. We just could not believe the amount of growth since we had been there last – it is now close to impossible to maneuver through and we only did it because we didn’t want to go back the way we just came.

We found the spot where Aaron and Paul once camped (and where Aaron and myself had a picnic with his lovely dog Barney back before the fires) surprisingly easily. The dead log that always ran across the ground near that area was still there, but instead of being completely bare as it used to be, it was completely covered by new growth shooting up from the ground beneath it. You could hardly even see the log, it was incredible. Another amazing example of the regrowth in the last few months because the last time we were there, none of that existed.

Heading back to the tent and BBQ area I was a little skeptical about how we were going to make it back across. We knew we didn’t want to go back the way we came so instead we found an area of bush to jump down into that ran back to the creek, where there was a log that we could easily cross. In hindsight it may have been better to go back the way we came after all! It was absolutely the thickest section we’d come across so far and I really had no idea how we were going to make it through to the creek. The trees were twice our height and only centimeters apart, and there were wombat holes all over the place that we had to make sure we didn’t fall in. Anyway, we did make it, but not without numerous cuts and scratches on our legs and a growing fear of snakes. It was almost a relief to get back to the campsite (but secretly I really enjoyed the whole experience :P)

It was an interesting little wander nonetheless!

Anyway, I’m fairly stuffed. We’re at Aaron’s mum’s place down the road right now, but I won’t be surprised if I’m asleep in the tent within the next hour (despite it being 6pm and bright as day).

 

I don’t really have anything in particular on my mind to write about tonight, I just felt like bashing away at the keyboard for a bit. Plus it means that I’m writing more regularly which is a habit I’m trying hard to get into (because I know it’s good for me). But you’ve heard this already, probably a few times πŸ™‚

What I can write about is my dear love for Keith Jarrett right now. Aaron bought me a DVD of the KJ Trio playing standards in Tokyo in ’85 and ’86, and because we’re slack and lame and also forgetful, we haven’t gotten around to watching it until tonight. It’s playing as we speak and while I’m not paying attention to every note, I’m loving the sounds I’m hearing. The trio is so tight, so tuned to each other, and so everything they play sounds just fantastic. Keith Jarrett is amazing – I knew this ever since I came across his Radiance recordings, hidden among the gigs worth of music Aaron gave me back in 2007. Radiance VIII came to be a piece that meant a lot to the both of us – in fact every time I hear it play it brings back swarms of memories from the beginning of our relationship. Admittedly I don’t have much of Keith Jarrett’s recordings, but from what I’ve heard (and what I’m hearing right now… yes, this very piece! I love it! I will have to find the CD of this concert, it’s amazing) you can count me in as a fan. Although I have to say watching Keith Jarrett play is simply hilarious. In the most intensive parts of his solos (and sometimes it doesn’t even have to be that intense) he sort of half-stands, hovering over his piano stool, twisting himself at all angles and making all sorts of strange facial expressions. And he sings while playing sometimes, this strange nasal sort of emanation. While I feel like it’s a little bit over-exaggerated, I think it’s pretty fantastic that he can really get into the music as much as he does, especially when all they’re doing is playing standards. (When I say that, really what they’re playing is so incredibly musical, creative and unique that it can hardly be counted as just “standards”).

Anyway, that’s my Keith Jarrett rant for tonight. I love him πŸ™‚

I haven’t been feeling well today which has put a bit of a downer of the day. When I started taking the antibiotics on Wednesday I was feeling 80% better by the next day and I was hoping that would continue through until I was all better, but alas it was not meant to be. Probably the late night last night didn’t help (my definition of “late night” is basically any time past midnight, because I wake up feeling like this… so there you go). We went to an engagement party for a friend of Aaron’s – it was just a three-hour afternoon party but we got there late and left there early because I just needed to get back into bed, so we ended up only being there for an hour. I felt bad about it but Aaron didn’t mind taking me home. He’s wonderful πŸ™‚ And so the whole day I haven’t gotten a single thing done – not practice, homework or study – which I am feeling guilty about, but hopefully I can be feeling a million times better tomorrow and have a really productive day πŸ™‚ Theory exam & American music listening test is on Monday so I do need to get something done at least!

Keith Jarrett is playing God Bless the Child now! It’s awesome!

That reminds me of the awesome rehearsal our ensemble had on Thursday. Mags was away somewhere so we had Sam Keevers for it instead (freakin’ awesome guy too!). We ran through the three pieces we’re playing for Bennett’s Lane – God Bless the Child, Charade and the Saga of Harrison Crabfeathers – and for the most part it just worked, and we all played well together. It was such a refreshment from the week before, when we were all feeling a bit flat and the music reflected that. We were all feeling good after it and hung around for a bit after, eating cake that Rachael so kindly brought for us. It sounds a bit silly to get so excited about one rehearsal but for me at least, it felt good. πŸ™‚

Well I think that satisfies my keyboard-bashing needs for the time being so I’m going to continue watching and loving this DVD!

I never really know what to write when I’m starting off a post like this. I guess if I wrote more often not only would I be better at doing it, but I’d be able to start it as though I’m talking to a friend or family member that I see every day – very casual, starting wherever I need to without much of an introduction. But that feels silly when I really don’t write here much. I get cranky at myself when I think about it because my constant whinge to myself is that I don’t really have many people to talk to about the things that matter. Aaron is fantastic for many, many things, including listening, but I would begin to sound like a broken record if I told him every time I was feeling down and why, and really the general mood would be pretty lame for like 98% of the time.

That all being said I’m actually in a pretty good mood today. Aaron’s working, which sucks, but he was home this morning and we had a very relaxing time just the two of us, with noone else in the house. It’s going really well between us lately (not that it ever really isn’t, but we have our times) and I crave for the times when we can just hang out together, even if we’re doing our own things. I don’t know any couple quite like us, we seem to be able to stand being around each other pretty much all the time and I still find it a little heart-wrenching to say goodbye to him, even if I know we’re only going to be apart for a few hours. Lame and dependent? Yeah, I guess so, but it’s not doing me any harm so I might as well enjoy it πŸ™‚

Also, I’ve been thrilled with having a Nintendo Wii these days – we bought one a couple of weeks ago and got the Wii Fit Plus, Wii Sports, EA Sports Active, and Cricket games with it. I’ve been getting a fantastic workout with the Active game and watching my weight slowly diminish using the Wii Fit Plus game. Plus, Aaron and I really get a kick out of playing together in Tennis, haha. It was a bit of a blow to the budget but most of it is an early birthday present from Aaron and my parents, and it will hopefully be the thing that kick-starts the motivation to really shed a few kilos. I can’t wait πŸ™‚ So I completed a great workout this morning and I’ve been noticing my mood really seems to lift once I’ve done it so it’s a double bonus! πŸ™‚

I have been sick though, which sucks horrifically because my practice has become all but non-existent. I’ve been trying to keep up with it by going through jazz standards in all keys on the piano and keeping up the ear training, but my throat has been so sore and swollen that the only time I’ve picked up my clarinet in these last two weeks is when I’m at uni in rehearsal, and every time I come home feeling like crap because I’ve overdone it. It’s a bit of a stress – the tech exam is only a few weeks away now – but I’ve been able to get a lot of the theory/academic side of uni work happening which is, I guess, the next best thing. I am finally starting to understand figured bass and part-writing (which, by the way, URGH) and am basically up to date with most things… a week or so behind in other things. It’s not too bad considering they do expect us to put in a hell of a lot of work with these subjects, and most people are doing nothing at all. So that makes me feel alright about it πŸ™‚

Wow, it truly amazes me how many words I can churn out when I’m really on to something. ANOTHER reason to write more here, because it is feeling fantastic just to write about my life at the moment, as mundane as it may be, and just make sense of it a little bit. That being said, if I try and make it a goal to write more often, or every day, it will probably fail because I’ve got too many goals I’m trying to complete at the moment! I feel like getting the exercise in is already pushing it so I won’t make any promises… like always πŸ˜›

Well it’s 2:30 and I should try and get some stuff done. For my own benefit, I’ll make a list:
– Notes for Chapter 7 & 8 of the theory textbook … and I’ll do some of the self-review questions if I have time and/or am feeling up to it.
– Get a bit of practice done. Mostly piano and ear training, although I might try and just get 10-15 minutes of clarinet practice done, just so I’ve done something for my tech exam
– Hang up all the clothes in our room – its ridiculous how lazy we are, even once our clothes have been washed and dried… we just never hang them up :/
– While I’m at it, I think I’ll also put on a new load of washing…
– Clean up just a few things on the floor of the lounge room (seriously looks like a bomb’s hit it… every time we walk in, we have to walk AROUND the huge pile of crap in the middle of the room.. it’s pretty bad)

Do you know, that sounds like a pretty good list to go on right now. Hey, wish me luck! πŸ™‚

So it’s been totally busy, it feels like, for a little while. More busy than I’m used to, anyway. I’m really kind of hanging out for the end of this week because then a whole lot of stuff will be done and over. Recording for our primary school kids on Tuesday. Last proper lesson with them on Wednesday. Monash audition and Life Goes On gig on Thursday. And I could be wrong but I thought there was something happening on Friday too – I can’t even keep up!

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I'm Monica - a 21 year old Aussie girl trying to understand life. Teaching music and studying to be a primary school teacher. Blogging about everything and nothing!

@clarinade

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